Thursday, October 1, 2015

Latta Plantation

We've had gray skies and constant rain for the last week and a half. With an approaching hurricane, we're prepared for even more rainfall in the upcoming days. This meant that when the sun came out yesterday, we spent as much time outside as possible.

After a rough morning with cranky kids, I packed a picnic lunch and forced everyone (including myself) to get dressed. I drove to the closest park I could think of that wouldn't be muddy and let the kids run free. I always admire how protective Jackson is over Maddie. She looks up to him more than anyone else.

Jackson and Amelia have the same athletic abilities. Jackson might be a better climber since he's taller, but I think Amelia can run faster.

Besides the rubber flooring, another perk to this park is having enough swings for everyone. Most parks only have two or three swings together, but the kids took up all four here.

We ate our lunch (PB&J, apple, and cheddar rice cakes) at a shady picnic area. Before I sat down to eat, I noticed James' sandwich was gone. I looked on the ground to see if he dropped it. I asked, "James, where did your sandwich go?" He kept looking around with his hands up, saying, "I don't know. All gone. More?" It never ceases to amaze me how much he can eat.

At this point in the day, it was already 1 pm, which was approaching naptime. It suddenly dawned on me it was Wednesday, aka "field trip" day. With the sun still shining and the kids still in good moods, I made an impromptu risk decision to take them to Latta Plantation, which is a short drive from the park. All of the kids were free, but I had to pay $7. I declined the house tour since I wasn't even sure the kids would remain happy outside with the animals. Plus, three toddlers and antiques from centuries ago aren't my favorite combination.

Maddie surprised me by voluntarily approaching the turkeys. She was startled when they began to gobble, but then she laughed. (She tends to be frightened easily by animals.) The five of us started gobbling back and conversing with the turkeys.

We browsed through the old shops and hypothesized what the purpose of various tools might be.

The last time we went to Latta (5 months ago) we walked around the kitchen house and slave quarters freely. This time there were ropes intended to block off many of the spaces. That didn't stop James from walking under it and exploring the kitchen. I took a picture, explained some of the utensils, then coaxed him to return to the correct side of the rope.

The highlight of our afternoon on the plantation was interacting with this friendly sheep.

We all laughed hysterically when the sheep went through the wagon and began to "baa" at us.

Next on our self-guided tour was exploring the slaves quarters.

I tried to have a preschool appropriate discussion on slavery. Jackson was mostly concerned about what would happen if a slave didn't follow his master's rules. 

The kids were only mildly intrigued by the chickens.

They were much more interested in the donkey and horse. I wasn't expecting the animals to approach us along the fence, but they must have been mutually curious.

Maddie's bravery ended with the turkeys. She wouldn't even get out of the wagon to see these giant animals. Amelia and James were much more interested.

It ended up being a gorgeous day and a welcome change to the constant rain. I'm glad we were able to have our weekly outing and learn more about plantation life.


  1. 1. Love Jackson's red boots! 2. What is the name of the park you went to? I am near Latta Plantation, so park must be near me. 3. We took advantage of the sun on Wednesday too! But the little park we went to in Huntersville was covered in stick bugs! Ok, not covered . . . that's an exaggeration, but enough to annoy all of us.

    1. We went to Nevin, which is still 20 minutes from Latta, but both are in a direction we don't normally go so it felt closer. Hornet's Nest Park is right by Latta and they have an awesome obstacle course park just like Freedom Park. They also have paved trails between playgrounds and around the lake.

    2. Thanks! We will check it out! When it stops raining of course.